I hope you've enjoyed this story even half as much as I enjoyed writing it! Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!
Into the Spider's Web Part V
“I’m very flattered, sir.”
Suddenly, I found her Hollywood smile a little too phony for my taste, and I thought she found Ethan entirely too appetizing. Especially since I was standing right there. Hello? Remember me? The Cleopatra that’s gonna send your poisonous ass to the moon if you don’t stop ogling my man? She held out her hand and Ethan bent over it like he was playing the courtier to her queen in some period drama.
Hey, wasn’t I supposed to be the queen here? I took a deep breath, forcing back words that would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap when I was a kid, my eyes trained jealously on the tableau before me.
If I saw even the slightest hint of his lips touching her flesh… well, let’s just say what would happen next wouldn’t be pretty.
Ethan raised his head, his lips never making contact with her skin, and I released my breath. Unpleasant scene avoided.
Someone must have been looking out for us, for just at that moment, the actor we’d been discussing earlier made an appearance, his attention all for Miss St. Clair. “Caroline, darling!” he gushed. “Here you are! I’ve been searching everywhere for you. There’s someone you simply have to meet.”
With an apologetic shrug and a backward wave, Miss St. Clair allowed herself to be dragged off by the eager beaver, and we were alone once more. Relatively speaking.
“Back to business,” Ethan said in his no-nonsense voice, as I pushed the actress out of my head for more important matters. “I was watching Spider and the two cauldrons, and who he gave what to, and I’m pretty sure there’s something in those “special” bags he’s giving out. So I followed one of the recipients and relieved him of it when he wasn’t looking.”
“How did you do that?” I asked, amazed.
Ethan waggled his fingers at me and grinned. “Just a little skill I used to have, although I haven’t practiced it in quite a while. I guess I haven’t lost my touch.”
“I guess not,” I said in open admiration. “You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?”
“Could be,” he said—somewhat evasively, I thought—before changing the subject. “I think we need to check this out, and see if it’s what I think it is.” He held a small cloth bag in his hand, a far cry from the cheaper ones we’d been offered. He rolled it in his palm as if to gauge it.
I glanced around us. The party was in full swing by now, and everybody was too preoccupied with what they were doing to notice us. “Let’s go into that hallway. I don’t think anyone will notice.”
“Probably not,” he agreed. Taking my hand, we casually but urgently strolled through the other guests, who were laughing and drinking and having a generally great time. At least one person was doing a line of coke. I made a mental note to do something about that later.
We darted into the hallway, no one paying us the slightest attention. I kept an eye on the crowd, while Ethan opened the bag into his palm and whistled.
“What is it?” I glanced back at what he held. “Wow, is that what I think it is?”
“Yep. Diamonds.” He moved his hand so that the stones caught the light, sparkling like tiny stars in his palm. “Can you imagine what these must be worth?”
“A whole lot more than you and me together.” I had a sudden thought. “Just think, if each of those bags had this many diamonds in it….?”
“That’s a whole lot of ice,” Ethan agreed. “Time to remove the spider from his web. I think we need to bring Anderson into this. He’s just waiting for the word to bring in his men.”
“But if he does that, how do we link Spider directly to the jewels? He’ll just say he doesn’t know anything about them.”
“You have a point.” Ethan frowned in thought. Then his brow cleared, as if he’d just thought of the solution to our dilemma, and he gave me one of his aren’t I so brilliant but you’re not going to like this looks.
I felt uneasy already.
“You need to get Spider to give you one of those bags. Personally.”
“How the hell do you expect me to do that? Ask him? Please, Mr. Spider, can I have some of your lovely illegal jewels you’ve been smuggling as a souvenir of our non-existent relationship? I’m sure that’ll go over well.”
“I don’t think I’d put it quite like that to him, Vin.”
“Gee, really, Ethan?”
Ethan tried not to grin, but he failed. Miserably. “Use your feminine wiles on him.”
Wasn’t he just making things better?
I started to huff a very scathing retort when I heard a familiar voice intone,” My queen, you promised me a dance,” and the next thing I knew, I was being queen-handled into the main ballroom, headed for the dance floor, in the grasp of one Spider.
For a short, fat man, Spider moved surprisingly well. I tried to tug out of his hold, but to no avail. I caught sight of Ethan following behind us, indirectly, skirting the other guests in order to keep us in sight. I threw him a helpless glance. He held up one finger, as if to say be right back, then disappeared.
Great. I was all alone. Caught in the spider’s web.
As we approached the dance floor, the music, which had been thumping and bumping, turned soft and romantic. I had to believe that wasn’t a coincidence. His next words verified my impression.
“I told them to play something soft and slow,” Spider told me with a lascivious leer. Other than Ethan, why did I seem to attract such creeps? I wondered where Mrs. Spider was. Probably guarding the goodies. He probably gave her some excuse, or maybe he just told her to stay there.
Spider might not have eight legs, but I sure thought he had at least that many hands, and they were all over me. As soon as I removed one from my ass, another found its way to my fake bosom. I wondered why he didn’t know the difference. Maybe his marriage wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Not my business and I didn’t really care.
“Ah, ah, ah,” I kept warning him, trying to maintain a girlish lilt when what I really wanted was to kick him in the nuts and tell him hands off. By the time the music ended, I knew how a fresh piece of fruit at the supermarket must feel, constantly being groped. And I was still no closer to the jewels.
Not his, the diamonds.
Desperate times called for desperate measures. “Mr. Geist…” I began.
“Please, call me Spider. All my friends do.”
I forced myself not to gag and gave him a brilliant smile instead. “Spider,” I conceded, “how about we get some fresh air?” I wondered if he would take the bait, considering how smoggy the air over LA generally was. But he seemed very amenable to my suggestion and before I could even get in another word, he was power walking me toward the front door.
I was making this up on the fly, and I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do, but I knew I had to do something. As we headed into the foyer, I was hard put not to fall behind. You’d think he was on his way to a fire. I was grateful that the sandals Ethan had gotten me were flat. I’d hate to think what would have happened if I’d had to stumble after him in heels.
I spotted his waspish wife where I thought she might be—by the cauldrons. I wondered how she would take his hauling me out the door like he’d just won me in a box of Cracker Jacks? Probably not very well. Probably like a woman scorned… Hmm, I wondered…
As we came abreast of the cauldrons, I managed to dig in my heels, enough to slow him down, since he wasn’t expecting any resistance on my part. Mrs. G gave me a suspicious look, and her husband a very dirty one. I noticed the one cauldron held far less than it had before. If I didn’t act soon, there would be no jewels, and he’d have succeeded in eluding arrest once more.
“Oh, Spider, thank you so much for a wonderful time!” I impulsively threw my arms around my unsuspecting victim and hugged him. He sure didn’t put up much of a fight, especially considering his wife was standing right there. And there went that pesky hand again, right to my ass. Didn’t he even know what a woman’s ass should feel like? Mine sure didn’t feel like that, I knew.
“Frederick!” his wife hissed, probably trying to maintain some sense of decorum when what she really wanted to do was scream at him. Ignoring her, he dove in for a kiss, and I barely managed to side step him.
“Naughty boy!” I managed to haul my royal ass to the other side of the cauldron, next to his wife. Without pausing for thought, I plunged my hand into the cauldron, feeling about for one of the cloth bags which I knew held the jewels. I picked one at random and lifted it out.
“What are you doing?” Mrs. Spider gaped at me.
“Spider promised me,” I lied, hoping to light a spark inside of her.
“No, you can’t have that, you silly little tramp. He never gave you those, you’re lying, I know you are.”
“But they are his to give, yes?”
“Yes, but he would never give them to the likes of you, you’re not on the list…”
“”Madeline!” Spider realized what was happening, too late, and lunged for the bag in my hand. Being taller, I managed to hold it out of his reach. Furious, he snapped his fingers. I should have seen that coming. Didn’t it stand to reason he had bodyguards? Big burly ones who looked as though they meant serious business, and wouldn’t care if I was a woman or a man.
“I don’t know what game you’re playing, but it ends here,” Spider said. “Return those to me this instant.”
“You mean I can’t have them?” I pouted, thrusting out my lower lip as sexily as I could. “You want them for yourself?”
Come on, say it, buster, say it….
“They are mine, you silly bitch!” He thrust his hand out. “Either give them to me or suffer the consequences.”
The first bodyguard had reached me by then. He was big and burly and built like a gorilla. “Be a nice girl and give that back,” he tried to cajole me.
“Don’t wanna be a nice girl,” I told him just before I kneed his nuts and ran toward the door.
“Get her!” Spider screamed.
I was dimly aware of an ensuing pandemonium as all hell broke loose. Guests screamed, the bodyguards were chasing me, and I was doing my best to get the hell out of Dodge. One of the gruesome team managed to get ahead of me and tripped me, sending me flying. I held tight to the small bag as I skidded across the floor. Once I stopped moving, I rolled onto my back as he closed in for what he thought was the kill, only to back off when I punched him unexpectedly hard in the jaw.
“You don’t hit like a lady,” he complained.
“I wonder why,” I muttered, regaining my feet just as the front door burst open, and in came the cavalry, led by my own personal hero, Ethan.
“Vinnie, watch out!” he yelled, pointing behind me.
I ducked and whirled, only to find Spider, his gun aimed at me. He fired over my head, thanks to Ethan’s warning. I pulled my weapon from my thigh holster and trained it on him. He stared at me open-mouthed, even as his wife began to screech, “You sure know how to pick’em, don’t you? A lady cop? You idiot!”
“Shut up, Madeline,” he warned her before he turned to me and his eyes grew big. I looked down at myself and I realized why. My falsies had come awry, and one boob was a lot higher than the other. I wrenched the offending bosom back into place.
“What’s a girl gonna do?” I gave him a sweet smile and watched as one of LA’s finest cuffed him, and began to read him his rights.
“There’s where the jewels are,” Ethan pointed out to Anderson even as he hurried to me, concern written all over his face. “Are you okay?”
He threw his arms around me and pulled me close, and we held on to one another in the midst of the chaos as arrests were made, and the guests were politely taken aside and asked to please give statements. More real excitement than the dramas they generally saw on their movie sets.
We were still standing there when Anderson approached and patted each of us on the back. “Good job,” he said. “You did good work. We got everything on tape, thanks to your wire, plus we have the evidence. He won’t be able to easily wriggle out of this one.”
“Good. I hope they throw the book at him, handsy little bastard,” I muttered.
“Handsy little… what did he do?” Ethan demanded to know, and I saw his own green-eyed monster rise to the occasion once again. I admit to feeling a little bit of satisfaction at that.
“He tried lots of stuff, but he got nowhere,” I assured him. “Can we go now?” I turned big puppy dog eyes on Anderson. Sometimes they worked on him.
“Yeah, sure, go ahead. I’ll get your statement tomorrow. Get some sleep, why don’t you?”
That sounded like a damn good idea. I wanted nothing more than to put this behind us. To go back to our apartment in Richmond and leave LA far behind.
That night we lay in bed together, snuggled tightly about one another. I’d stripped off every vestige of the Queen of the Nile, more than happy to shed that heavy ass wig, and that dress, and all of it.
“I don’t understand how he didn’t know,” I repeated for about the tenth time. “Seriously, I do not look like a woman.”
“Baby,” Ethan tried to explain again, “when you get all made up and put on one of your dresses and everything… you’re as beautiful as any woman.”
I wasn’t sure how I felt about that and decided to let it go for now.
“You know something, Eth?”
“If that’s what a Hollywood party’s like, I hope I never see another one.”
He laughed and held me closer. I snuggled into his warmth and decided it wasn’t worth thinking about. “Happy Halloween,” I murmured sleepily.
“Happy Halloween, Vinnie,” I heard him respond just before I fell asleep.
As to how he learned how to make-up, I believe that happened when he received his first assignment to play a drag queen :)